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Pichla | Agla

Mar 28 2019 - Updated review and added spoiler alerts

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.
For review of all books under Ghostwalker series: Go here.

Stars: 4.5 / 5
Recommendation: A definite pick if you are into paranormal romance with a touch of mystery, eroticism and the unbelievable.

Samurai Game is the tenth book in the Ghostwalker Series by Christine Feehan published in July of 2012. The plot centers around Sam "Knight" Johnson - member of GhostWalker Team One - and Azami "Thorn" Yoshiie - one of the orphan girls from Dr. Whitney's Group Two. This book touched the softer side of my heart even though both the ghostwalkers are tough and fierce.



GhostWalkers are a group of women and men who are sent on special missions. They have enhances psychic and physical abilities along with genetic modifications, using in some cases not just human genes but all kinds of animal and plant genes. However every GhostWalker would need an "anchor" to draw back the psychic backlash, especially that would instigate violence. They are complex characters trying to live with their enhanced abilities and at the same time fight against the corrupt people around them, executing their missions successfully. So far we are introduced to two teams of GhostWalkers Men serving in various areas of law enforcement and armed forces and one group of Orphan Girls on whom Dr. Peter Whitney had experimented. He has paired each of his GhostWalker men with the women in the hopes to breed the next generation of GhostWalkers.

In Shadow Game we had seen that Dr. Lily Whitney-Miller, married to Captain Ryland "King" Miller - head of Team One - find the details of the Orphan Girls that Dr. Peter Whitney had experimented on along with Lily. Now adopted or held in a different lab or on their own or more girls added as years progressed, Lily and Ryland are determined to find those girls now women, rescue them and provide a safe haven. So far they have rescued Dahlia Le Blanc, Iris "Flame" Johnson, Briony "Bri" Jenkins, Marigld "Mari" Smith, Saber Wynter, Tansy Meadows and Rose Patterson.

My usual style of reading a book, is to look at the cover, the title and the blurb at the back before digging into it. Although I liked the book cover, its title and definitely the author; I was hesitant to read this book because of the blurb. The blurb has nothing to do with the actual plot or the characters confusing the readers unnecessarily. A very unfair way of marketing the book from such a wonderful author - wonder why it was done so? Anyway, in the end I did finally pick the book. I am glad I did so else it would have been my loss to not know Azami "Thorn" Yoshiie.

We have heard about Thorn quite a number of times during the course of the series. First she was mentioned in Predatory Game, where Saber Wynter recalls an incident involving Thorn and her in the facility where Dr. Whitney had held them. However, in the previous book, Ruthless Game, Rose Patterson recalls being with Thorn, when she was a kid in Dr. Whitney's basement lab along with other girls of Group One. Did Dr. Whitney take Saber and Thorn away from the original group and held them somewhere else for a few more years before discarding them off?

Dr. Whitney devices a plan to send Sam "Knight" Johnson along with his team on a deadly mission back into Congo where Sam would have a different outcome other than his team mates. Azami "Thorn" Yoshiie, orphan girl from Dr. Whitney's original group and discarded after, comes to know about the assignment. In the meanwhile the four GhostWalkers team approach Samurai Telecommunications to acquire one of their satellites, which happens to be owned by Thorn and her adopted brothers.

However, what neither Sam not Thorn expect is being paired by Dr. Whitney. As they fight off the impact of pheromones, they have a much bigger enemy to fight against. Protecting all the four GhostWalker teams falls on their shoulders and they brave for this game involving Samurais and Swords in the midst of mountains and forests.
Two people who were considered as expendable by Dr. Whitney work together to prove quite the contrary. The battle of senses, strategies and attraction between Azami and Sam are superbly knitted. Her fierce nature hidden behind the innocent face is a perfect match for the bold sculpture of Sam. The plot gives us a feel that we might be walking through a Japanese garden surrounded by cherry blossom trees. But there is danger lurking behind every tree and under every leaf in the form of the different gadgets, spies and weapons that Dr. Whitney employ in taking these down.

We have seen a lot of action from Ryland Miller in the first book Shadow Game and in subsequent books we see him in bits and pieces or a few scenes efficiently managing the team. However, we see his much more than what he has projected himself so far in this plot, and up close in how he manages his team, family and keeps the enemies at bay. Just as Dr. Whitney thought Ryland wasn’t so bright a super soldier he want to be, as a reader I was getting that feeling to. Glad to see Christine showed more of him in this book quickly amending my assessment of Ryland.

Just like how the rejected male psychic candidates exist, Dr. Whitney might have come across rejected female psychics too, those whom he did not keep as part of any of his groups of orphan girls. A few books ago when Violet was introduced, the thought crossed my mind, as to what about the rejected female psychics and how is Dr. Whitney using them. We see some of them in action in this plot, although they aren't a match with the GhostWalkers, it was fun to watch them pit against the elite and survive.

It amazes me how Christine remembers all her inconsequential details that she throws around in her plots and then somehow weaves them into future plots making a complete tapestry. When she introduced Tom Delany, Sr. in Murder Game, she shows that he is given a chance to become an honorable GhostWalker. She shows the readers in this plot, that indeed Tom no only becomes an honorable GhostWalker but also joins Team One as suggested by Kadan. That connection to that small detail she provides makes the readers always wonder which small details would blow into a major plot, keeping them on the edge with her plots.

I wanted to see a reunion of sorts among the GhostWalkers Women who were together as kids but separated as they grew. We saw a little of it in Ruthless Game at Rose and Kane's wedding. We again see it here when the remaining members of Team One and Two in the Montana hills fight the enemy when the rest of both teams were out on missions. A reunion, even though not written as such, was pleasant to read.

There is a lot of repeat paraphrasing seen. As the books progress, I see that this is increasing more and more. Again, quite a few character and grammatical errors are seen, which is unusual for Christine's books.
The plot may be similar to other books in the series, but what makes this different is the door that it opens us to nanotechnology and the weapons around it. I can't even imagine how much of research time might have been spent by Christine for this book, but it shows in the writing very much. I am now more than intrigued to see how all these ghostwalkers will come together to get his huge empire of Dr. Whitney down.

Another excellent book to read in the series.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Plot Reveals:
a. Christine talks about an ancient Japanese oil to which every generation adds a flavor of their own to the recipe, while describing a scene between Azami and Sam. This oil reminded me of many ancient oils that we have had in India as well, that some generations ignored and now lately they are being brought up in the name of health and going green. I wish Christine had shared what that exact ancient oil was though.
b. GhostWalker Team Two is also sent out an mission at the same that Team One is sent. Wonder if Christine will have a story from that arc for Team Two sometime in future.
c. Azami has an informant in Whitney's camp. Wonder who that is.

2) Sub-Plots:
a. In the first book, Shadow Game, we were introduced to Dr. Brandon Adams - GhostWalkers own doctor who takes care of them as well as keeps them safe from Dr. Peter Whitney and his rogue super humans. In Deadly Game, another doctor, Dr. Eric Lambert, is introduced who takes care of these GhostWalker teams. But he turned out to be rogue in Ruthless Game.
b. In Ruthless Game, Fargo, one of the super soldiers of Dr. Whitney's personal army had been paired with one of the orphan girls in the facility where he was orchestrating his breeding program. And she had tried to almost kill Fargo. I wonder who that orphan girl is.
c. A slight confusion I have as a reader on where the first two teams are located. In Conspiracy Game and after, Christine had GhostWalkers Team One and Two settling in the mountains of Montana. But in Ruthless Game, she has some of them settling in the mountains of Wyoming. Definitely we can say that Team Two is in Montana since Jack and Ken have their housing there. Again in this plot, she has both Team One and Two living in Montana around the Lolo National Forest. So who is living in Wyoming?

d. GhostWalker Team One, Army Rangers and Army Green Berets; first introduced in the first book, Shadow Game - under direct command of General Theodore Ranier. They make their base in the mountains of Montana along-side Team Two as of Predatory Game.
i. Headed by Captain Ryland "King" Miller - His story was told in Shadow Game, and marries Lily Whitney, adopted daughter of Dr. Peter Whitney, at the end of that book. They have a baby boy - Daniel Ryland Miller - in Predatory Plot.
ii. Nicolas "Nico" Trevane - His story is told in Mind Game, and marries Dahlia Le Blanc at the end of that book.
iii. Raoul "Gator" Fontenot - His story is told in Night Game, and marries Iris "Flame" Johnson at the end of that book.
iv. Kadan Montague, Ryland's second-in-command. His story is told in Murder Game, and marries Tansy Meadows at the end of that book.
v. The rest of the team consists of Jeff Hollister; Ian McGillicuddy; Tucker Addison; Jonas "Smoke" Harper; Kyle "Ratchet" Forbes; Tom "Shark" Delaney, Sr. wrongly enhanced by Dr. Whitney and thrown away, rescued by Kadan in Murder Game.
vi. Jeff Hollister goes through a very tough recovery when he was brutally experimented by Dr. Whitney in the first book, Shadow Game. We see more about him in Murder Game. I would like to see Christine pen a story for him soon more so because he is creeping into the reader's mind slowly.

e. GhostWalker Team Two, Paramilitary Ghostwalkers Team (Navy SEALs) working with NCIS; first introduced in the second book, Mind Game; under direct command of Rear Admiral Frank Henderson. They make their base in the mountains of Montana where Jack and Ken already reside as of Predatory Game.
i. Headed by Logan "Max" Maxwell.
ii. Jack Norton, oldest of the Norton Twins. His story is told in Conspiracy Game, and married Briony "Bri" Jenkins, at the end of that book. They have twins, Jeremiah Ken Norton and Noah Jack Norton, as of Ruthless Game.
iii. Ken Norton, the second Norton Twin. His story is told in Deadly Game, and married Marigold "Mari" Smith at the end of that book. Mari is pregnant with twins as of this plot.
iv. Jesse "Jess" Calhoun - His story is told in Predatory Game, and married Saber Wynter at the end of that book.
v. The rest of the team consists of Martin Howard; Neil Campbell; Trace Aikens; Antonio Martinez (first introduced in Street Game)
vi. When the GhostWalker Team Two was introduced in Mind Game, Christine had mentioned one of the members as Todd Aikens. But in Deadly Game, she names him Trace Aikens. Is he Todd or Trace? Had she named him first as Todd and then later changed it to Trace? Or are there both Todd and Trace?

f. GhostWalker Team Three: Marine Force Recon Urban Warfare Team; first introduced in Predatory Game; under direct command of Sergeant Major Theodore Griffen. 9 men and two women who grew up together to form a family by heart, joined by a newbie now. They make their base in San Francisco, around the warehouse that Jaimie already bought in Street Game, as of Ruthless Game.
i. Headed by Mack "Top" McKinley. His story is told in Street Game and marries Jaimie Fielding at the end of that book, one of the girls in his group.
ii. Kane Cannon - second-in-command to Mack. His story is told in Ruthless Game and marries Rose Patterson at the end of that book. They have a baby boy, Sebastian Kane Cannon, in the middle of the plot.
iii. The rest of the team consists of Javier Enderman; Gideon Carpenter; Brian Hutton; Jacob Princeton; Ethan Myers; Marc Lands; Lucas Atherton; Rhianna "Rhee" Bonds; newbie Paul Mangan.
iv. Brian Hutton, the first member we met in Predatory Plot and had been interested romantically in Patsy Calhoun, Jesse Calhoun's - GhostWalker from Team Two - sister in that plot. Is he paired with Patsy? But Patsy isn't a GhostWalker? Or is she?
v. Rhianna is sent to Mossad on loan and Javier and Rhianna seems to have a history as being lovers in Street Game. She returns to the team in Ruthless Game.

g. GhostWalker Team Four: Air Force Pararescue Special Forces Team; first mentioned in Predatory Game; more revealed in Street Game where we meet Joe and hear about Malichai; possibly settling in San Francisco along-side Team Three.
i. Joe Spagnola, works undercover at Jaimie warehouse protecting her.
ii. Malichai Fortune - another member wounded twice when sent on deadly missions.
iii. Wyatt Fontenot - Raoul Fontenot's brother is introduced as a GhostWalker in Ruthless Game.

h. Group One of Dr. Peter Whitney's Orphans: Twelve orphan girls on whom he had conducted his experiments to make them psychically enhanced - Lily Whitney-Miller, the only girl he had adopted for himself; Dahlia Le Blanc; Iris "Flame" Johnson; Briony "Bri" Jenkins; Marigold "Mari" Smith; Tansy Meadows; Rose Patterson; Jonquille; Laurel; Camellia "Cami".
i. More about them is shown in Deadly Game
1) Ivy, supposedly killed by Dr. Whitney to teach the orphans girls a lesson;
2) Cami and two others live in a secret compound that Dr. Whitney uses for breeding program along with Mari and Rose. In the escape attempt all of them spread away.  Mari and Rose's stories have been told. Now waiting for the others to speak.

i. Group Two of Dr. Peter Whitney's Orphans: First introduced in Predatory Game. It is clear that although Thorn was later on isolated with Saber in a different facility, she was with the others in the Group One in the beginning, per this plot - Saber Wynter; Azami "Thorn" Yoshiie.

j. The Fontenot family is introduced in Night Game - Raoul's three brothers (Wyatt, ) and his grandmother, Nonny. Wyatt is shown to have romantic feelings towards the lost and found girl, Joy Chiasson.

k. Dr. Peter Whitney who thought be dead in the first book Shadow Game, is shown to be alive as well as psychic as of Deadly Game with more devious plots in his mind. As the books progress, we see the various kinds of horrific experiments he had done on the GhostWalkers Men and Women - tracking them with a computer chip in their body; pairing the Orphan girls not only with one of the four Ghostwalker teams, but his personal enhanced team that he created using the rejected psychic candidates as part of his breeding program; injecting them with Zenith, a fast-healing medicine but with serious repercussions; experimenting with animal genes.

l. Dr. Peter Whitney's allies in his devious plots are:
i. Violet Smythe-Freeman - one of the Orphan Girls from Dr. Whitney's Group in the breeding program - first introduced in Deadly Game, married to Senator Ed Freeman, the one the Norton twins tried to rescue and were in turn kidnapped in Congo, conspires with Dr. Whitney to kill the Senator, gets herself paired with Whitney, so she can get to White House as of this plot.
ii. Jacob Abrams, a loaded banker, and Senator Freeman's father, Andrew Freeman.

3) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:
a. I thought the word GhostWalker was given by one of the team member from Team One when they were locked in the basement of Donovan's Research Facility in Shadow Game when Dr. Whitney was still conducting experiments on them. But in this book, Christine has Dr. Whitney use that term in the flash back with Thorn when she was a little girl and was experimented on. An error on Christine's part of word portrayal?
b. On Pg. 239, Line 7 from bottom, it should be "…herself to tell him…"
c. On Pg. 312, Line 26, it should be "…radio issued to you…"
d. On Pg. 342, Line 19, it should be "…Where do you have…"

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